Tips 4 Family Fun at the National Balloon Classic -

Tips 4 Family Fun at the National Balloon Classic

If your kids are early birds, forget about catching the proverbial worm — head to the National Balloon Classic in Indianola and watch hot air balloons rise into sky at the break of dawn instead. Even today’s jaded kids will be in awe of the spectacular sight of balloons ascending into the air from the ground all at once. In addition to the colorful balloon displays, this nine day festival boasts a parade, live musical performances, kid’s activities, and a fun run.

Know Before You Go

  • Hours: AM: Spectator Parking and Morning Gates open at 5:00 am; PM: Spectator Parking opens at 4:00 pm, Evening Gates open at 4:30 pm.
  • Cost of Admission: CASH ONLY. Morning admission: FREE; Evening admission: Ages 6 and over: $5.00, Ages 5 and under: FREE.
  • Parking: FREE.
  • Food: No outside food, beverages or coolers are allowed. Food and beverages can be purchased from several vendors.
  • Restrooms: Porta potties are available close to the entrance of the balloon field.
  • Prior to your visit check out National Balloon Classic’s website where you’ll find everything you need to know about the festival.

While You’re There


Tips 4 Family Fun at the National Balloon Classic –

Photo by Shelly Walderbach

If you really do want to catch the morning flight, go to bed early the night before your visit, so you’ll all be bright-eyed enough to watch the balloons lift-off at the crack of dawn! Balloon flights take place daily Friday, July 24th through Saturday, August 1st at 6:30 am.  If you are willing to get up even earlier, grab a flashlight and catch the Dawn Patrol at 5:15 am on Saturday, July 25th, Wednesday, July 29th and Saturday, August 1st.

Since the gates open at 5:00 am you can go “all in” and take in the full experience by arriving early enough for the family to be able to watch the hot air balloons get inflated, lift-off and take flight.  It really is quite a spectacular site! Weather and wind conditions permitting. Whatever time you go, don’t forget to pack your camera! There will be plenty of photo ops in the midst of the majestic hot air balloons.

Tips 4 Family Fun at the National Balloon Classic –

Photo by Shelly Walderbach

If the thought of getting up that early makes you cringe, and your kids are night owls, then opt to attend the night flights.  Evening balloon flights take place daily during the festival at 6:30 pm.  Catch Nite Glow and Nite Glow Extravaganza on Sunday, July 26 and Wednesday, July 29, respectively, to watch the balloons get inflated, light up the night when their burners are ignited and dazzle spectators with their gorgeous glow.

In addition to the balloon flights there are many other events scheduled throughout the festival.  There’s a Kids Land, complete with carnival rides and games; Wacky Classic Parade scoops the loop around Indianola’s square at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 25th; Balloon Challenge 5K Cross Country Race is Saturday, August 1st and a live band is rocking the balloon field stage each evening.

Tips 4 Family Fun at the National Balloon Classic –

Photo by Shelly Walderbach

To take your festival experience to new heights a balloon ride is a truly unique and unforgettable way to experience the National Balloon Classic. Balloon rides can be taken every morning or evening (weather permitting) during the festival. Spots fill quickly so schedule your reservation in advance. To purchase a balloon ride, contact: Galena On The Fly, Inc. (815) 777-2747

What to Bring To the National Balloon Classic

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Sun Screen
  • Bug Spray
  • Blanket
  • Chairs
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Sturdy Shoes

National Balloon Classic
15335 Jewell Street, east of Indianola.
Indianola, IA
Phone: (515) 961-8415


Have you been to the National Balloon Classic?  Share your tips for family fun at the balloon festival in the Comment section below.

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